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KIM-1 interest?

TechnoBob

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Jan 10, 2020
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Maryland, USA
New to the forum (recc. to me by user RuudB), I was surprised to find not a single mention of the venerable KIM-1. Yes, it was single-board and primitive, but lots of cool things were done with it. Inspired by articles and projects I read about in Eric Rehnke's KIM-1 User Notes newsletter, I wrote:
  • a self-learning Hexpawn game (KIM learns by its mistakes, eventually becomes unbeatable)
  • a one- or two-player baseball game (with 'pitcher' and 'batter' peripherals, display of pitched and hit ball, stats)
  • a tiny version of Adventure, a.k.a. Colossal Cave (24 locations, five objects to be used, two animals (a bird and a dragon), two treasures to retrieve, magic word, etc)
I'd like to make the source code (and cave map and instructions) for KIM-Venture available for posterity. First I must find a place to post it all, then I will do so if there's any interest at all.

Bob Leedom
Glenwood Maryland
USA
 

glitch

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It is indeed a neat little SBC! My first taste of machine code and assembly was on a KIM-1 that'd been given to me by a future employer. Dead power supply and missing its 1 MHz crystal. Never got cassette operation to be reliable, but I did enjoy having a machine with so much I/O available to quickly whip up a project with.
 

Dwight Elvey

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Santa Cruz
Using the VCF search is crappy. There is actually quite a bit of KIM-1 stuff here but you need to use a real search engine like google. The search engine for the vcf MB doesn't like to do 3 letter searches so drops KIM.
Of interest is my article on a 6532 to 6530 replacement:

http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?54850-Debugging-a-KIM-1-computer

If you look at post 38 and 39 you'll see pictures of the finished product. Note that size of the adapter. It is slightly less thick than 2 sockets of additional height. I sold kits with a diagnostic board as well as the kit with the adapter. Most that I know of used the diagnostic board and fixed other problems on their boards, not caused by either of the 6530 chips. I've been meaning to put all the stuff up on gethub but haven't found the time yet.
I've no plans to make any more kits but you are welcome to copy any of the stuff for your own purposes. The diagnostic board is quite useful at finding typical problems on the KIM and has 2 games that I put on the ROM. ( it has lots of room for more but I only put the two on it to demonstrate and test out the final product.
I used an EEPROM that could be programmed right on the KIM for either the -002 or the -003 chip ( it was because I had no easy way to program them on my programmer because they were surface mount parts to hide under the 6532 ). There was a processor on the KIM so it made sense to program them on the board.
Another place to look for KIM-1 stuff is in the nostalgia section of the 6502.org MB.
Dwight
 

glitch

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There's a few AIM-65 enthusiasts here as well! I wouldn't put myself in that category, more just an owner of one, but there are a few guys here and on IRC that *really* hack on them. TangentDelta comes to mind, he even built an AIM-65 to OSI bus interface.
 

Dwight Elvey

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On 6502 stuff:

On the KIM, I hope to get Peter Jennings' chess program onto the ROM of the diagnostic board ROM and also add some more of Jim Butterfield's games on the ROM as well. When I get that done, I'll post a note and also get the diagnostic board on gethub. I've been changing the code to run on the ROM to reduce the size of the ROM usage for Peter's code to see if I can squeeze the ROM part to 1K ROM image. That will make bringing it up on the diagnostic board easier as one can then start it as a single ROM partition. The diagnostic board is mostly just a simple ROM board that plugs onto the expansion ports. It can be used to add 1K blocks to the KIM-1, as well as running diagnostics on the board. It uses a 2732 so has a lot of space if one wants to keep the diagnostics. Most of the diagnostics use a small part of each 1K block where they exist so there is a lot of free space to add what ever one would want, like Jim Butterfield's games.

On 6502 in general, I have a system RM65 that I hope to get running with a disk drive. It has parts of a ICE board in it but no dongle so I don't know what the target was. It has a Forth on it, likely quite similar to the AIM-65 Forth but it expects to have the RM65 video board on it as well. I regret it didn't come with that :(
When I get time, I'll blow some new ROMs with it connected to a serial port instead. I should be able to make it into an almost AIM-65. I have a AIM-65 with the Forth ROMs on it so maybe I can do some cross compare to make it more compatible at the binary level. With Forth, that may not be necessary. One usually compiles the code when needed rather than keeping a binary image but it wouldn't be to much to tack on a binary loaded to binary images.

All projects for the future.
Dwight
 

snuci

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Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
If you want to search for KIM-1 posts, just use "KIM1" or try this google search "site://www.vcfed.org/forum/ kim-1" (there IS a space after the URL and before KIM-1) KIM-1 posts are pretty much in the "Commodore" forum.

I have Dwight's board. It is great for troubleshooting. I have a few KIM-1s myself.
 

MikeS

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Hey, I've got an AIM-65 too! I need to fix its print head.

If it's worn down I don't think there's much you can do other than replace it; last I checked there were some available but not cheap.

Turning up the voltage a bit might help; on the other hand it might also burn it out ;-)
 

Chuck(G)

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Start by cleaning the head. Fluff and dirt can accumulate on thermal printheads and really get in the way of operation. Also, make sure that your paper is fresh--thermal paper degrades with time.

Same for just about any printer technology. I just about purchased a new drum unit for my laser printer until I found a service bulletin that said to clean the window on the drum unit. D'oh!
 

MikeS

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Start by cleaning the head. Fluff and dirt can accumulate on thermal printheads and really get in the way of operation. Also, make sure that your paper is fresh--thermal paper degrades with time.

Same for just about any printer technology. I just about purchased a new drum unit for my laser printer until I found a service bulletin that said to clean the window on the drum unit. D'oh!
Good advice! Also, some papers are better than others.

The same mechanism was used in some calculators but they're even harder to find these days.
 

Chuck(G)

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I noticed the issue with the degrading paper when I had to use my FAX machine with a thermal printer some time ago. A brand-new sealed roll from a stash that I bought more than 20 years ago displayed only barely visible print.

Since we don't have a POTS line anymore, I wouldn't count on that FAX machine working at all. Fortunately, my VoIP provider provides free FAX service just in case it's needed.
 

geoffm3

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My old boss used to take the drum units out of earlier laser printers (when the drum unit was separate from the toner cartridge) and clean them using downy fabric softener. Those were the days!

(what this has to do with the KIM-1 I don't know)...

Anywho... I'd like to play around with a KIM-1. I've never seen one in the wild ever.
 

Dwight Elvey

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My old boss used to take the drum units out of earlier laser printers (when the drum unit was separate from the toner cartridge) and clean them using downy fabric softener. Those were the days!

(what this has to do with the KIM-1 I don't know)...

Anywho... I'd like to play around with a KIM-1. I've never seen one in the wild ever.

You can get most of the feeling with the various arduino emulators. These are small enough to hold in your hand.
Dwight
 

WimWalther

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Jan 12, 2019
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St. Paul, MN
Since it was mentioned, would one of the members with more than one KIM-1 be interested in selling a spare unit? I've always been interested in having one, but never came across a unit. PM me if interested.
 

hjm

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Oct 15, 2020
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The Netherlands
Hi Bob and others, very late to this thread but KIM-Venture has attracted some new interest recently. I know some KIM-1 enthusiasts have contacted you directly about availability of source code (I've had a look myself at the audio file at bitsavers.org but that is so distorted it can't be read).

But I especially wanted to draw your attention to a new, still small, group of KIM-1 enthusiasts that has sprung up as a consequence of the PAL-1, a (fairly new) KIM-1 clone.
https://groups.google.com/g/pal6502

I had been pining for a KIM-1 for some years but of course they are very rare and expensive, and even if you were able to obtain one, you probably don't want to hack it too much. The PAL-1 therefore is really nice for those that want to have a KIM-1 experience more complete than the KIM-UNO. It is actually quite cheap, and you can buy a complete extension pack that should give you alle the functions you would expect (additional RAM, cassette interface, and even a neat ROM module). Since it is built around a 'real' 6502 and uses the 6532 RIOT + additional ROM solution to solve the RRIOTs, it in fact runs everything ever made for the KIM-1.

The kit is available from Tindie, and the creator, Liu Ganning, is absolutely brilliant in answering any questions you may have.

Cheers,
Hendrik-Jan
 

Hutch

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Jul 1, 2018
Messages
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Location
California
I have a 1977 KIM-1 that isn't working and one of Dave Williams clone kits that I haven't assembled yet.

Do your programs all run in the base 1K RAM?
Dave Williams posted an adventure game for the KIM also.
Oh, I see now, you're Bob Leedom so you already know about that.
There's a recent blog post about it on Hans Otten's site.
http://retro.hansotten.nl/6502-sbc/k...e/kim-venture/
Edit: Also, now I see that this is an old thread.

Also, if you're on Facebook, there's a new group for Vintage Single-Board Computers, such as the KIM-1.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/singleboardcomputers

For those who are interested but can't afford an original working MOS KIM-1,
Dave Williams (@Devilish_Design) designed and sells a KIM-1 replica.
Corsham also sells a good replica but Dave's has the advantage of looking just like the original and being connector compatible.
http://retro.hansotten.nl/6502-sbc/k...-reproduction/
He sells 'em on Ebay in kit form or pre-assembled (ph00l-uk) but looks like he's out of stock at the moment.
 
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Dwight Elvey

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Hi Hutch
I'm putting together a bunch of stuff for another member. I created a small board to plug onto the KIM-1 to diagnose failures. The most common is one of the RAM chips. The diagnostic board is quite simple and could be wire wrapped in not too long a time. It has 3, 14 pin, TTLs, a dip switch to select test, the test code in EPROM and two LEDs to display early test status until the display test is run.
I've lost the schematic for the test board but still have the layers for the board. ( It was my first KiCad project ). I'm still digging up the instructions as the code wouldn't be much good without the instructions on how to use it.
I'm not planning on making anymore boards but you are welcome to the files to make your own. It wouldn't be that much to wire wrap, though.
I also made modules to replace the 6530 chips. I sold 10 kits but I don't think any of them actually needed them to be replaced. i suspect, those that I sold them to still have the kits, if one of the 6530s was bad. Unlike most of the replaces, out there, mine fits under the 6532 so it add only a little to the height. It uses a EEPROM that I program on the KIM-1 from the diagnostic board!
Dwight
 
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